If there was ever a year when I truly needed Lent, this would be that year. Although my personal life has been blessed beyond measure with my marriage back in September (see my post this Friday), other areas of my life have been filled with frustration, angst, and impatience. It has been a long time that I’ve been this ready and excited for Lent.
At first, I thought it was just me, but as I’ve talked to friends, it seems that a lot of people are really excited for this Lenten Season. Usually I do one thing or give up one thing in the three areas of Lent – Prayer, Fasting, and Almsgiving, but since this year has been so difficult, I feel called to prune my vines a little more than usual. This post and reflection comes from two elements – the first reading from this weekend and the homily on the scriptures as well as the words of the great Bishop Fulton Sheen.
In the first reading from this weekend, we heard from the Prophet Sirach. In that reading, it states – “When a sieve is shaken, the husks appear; so do one’s faults when one speaks.” This reading along with my Pastor’s homily (Fr. Chris Axline – 8th Sunday in Ordinary Time) really made me think that I have some serious things that need to be shaken out of my life by the Lord’s sieve. The reading went on to talk about the importance of the Lord’s mercy and returning to the Lord. Great notions for the beginning of Lent.
The second element is the daily reflection for March 1 in the book, Through the Year with Fulton Sheen. The reflection is titled – The discipline of pruning. Just as a sieve works to shake things out, so does pruning allow for things to grow. In order for something to grow better, pruning is a necessary action. If you have ever pruned a tree branch or a vine, you know exactly what I mean.
In this case, and during the upcoming penitential season, the three themes mentioned above allow Our Lord to prune us during this Lenten season in order for our personal relationship to grow with Him and the Church and to make us good fruit. Pruning often allows the good fruit to come out. In pruning, things must change. During this Lenten Season – that’s what we must be open to – pruning from the Lord and change. If you are open to that during this season, you “will be surprised at the richness of the harvest.”
I would encourage you to exercise the Lenten themes will a degree that pertains to your age. What I mean by this is that some people give up candy or soda for Lent, but is that something you really need to sacrifice? Maybe it is, but I imagine, as I do in my life, there are greater things that we could offer up. Sacrificing candy and soda is something that young children often give up during Lent. As adults, we need to offer up things suited for our lives and to our caliber.
I also encourage all of you to not only offer something up, but also to take on some things. Don’t just give up things, but add elements of prayer to your daily life. Clear out your closet and donate clothes you no longer wear.
Lent is meant to be difficult. We enter the desert with Our Lord for 40 days. It’s time to do the things that will help the Lord to prune us and allow the good fruit to come forth.
It’s Ash Wednesday…Time to Get Our Lent On!